2016 PGA Championship – Jimmy Walker
The 2016 PGA Championship was the final Major of the year and it continued the trend of 1st-time Major winners. While the weather did not cooperate, the course, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, handled the rain well. The wet conditions softened the course which contributed to the lower than expected scores.
Heavy rains on Saturday pushed the 3rd round to early Sunday morning. Following the completed 3rd round on Sunday, the greens keepers did not cut or roll the greens. As a result, the greens were a bit slower than expected, but allowed for aggressive play.
Prior to the 2016 PGA Championship, Jimmy Walker had played in 10 Majors with three Top-10 finishes. Walker’s career can be described as a “late bloomer” as he played in 187 events without a win. That was until October 2013 when he won the Frys.com Open. He went on to win three of his next 8 starts.
Walker has had a weak 2016. This can be attributed to swing change. He and Butch Harmon have worked to tweak and improve Walker’s swing. This week, the new swing paid off.
While he was not a favorite going into the 2016 PGA Championship, his success, ball striking, putting, game plan, and demeanor embody a Major champion. Even with the wet conditions and charging competitors, the level headed Texan played a magnificent final round.
Walker was in control of his nerves during the final round. He pared the first 9 holes until back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11. He chipped in from the bunker on the 10th hole, then made a 30 foot putt on the 11th hole. He then pared holes 12 to 16.
On the 17th hole, the tournament got interesting as Jason Day attacked the final hole. Walker was over his birdie putt on the 17th green when he heard a roar from 18. Jason Day had just stiffed a 250 yard iron onto the last green. After composing himself and stepping back into his putt, Walker drained the 15 foot putt for birdie, extending his lead to 3 shots. As Jason Day walked up to the green on 18, he saw the updated scoreboard and gasped to see he was now down by 3. Day, being the number one player in the world, gathered himself and drained the putt for eagle. Walker’s lead was then cut to one.
Walker was in the fairway watching Day sink the eagle and heard the crowd erupt. He knew he had to par to win and that is what he did. From the fairway, Walker hit a wood into the rough, greenside. He then chipped to the middle of the green and two putted for the victory.
Jimmy Walker finished at 14-under at the 2016 PGA Championship.
Raise a glass to Jimmy Walker on his victory and performance at the 2016 PGA Championship.
Reason why players stumbled during the final round:
Jason Day – driver
Hideki Matsuyama – putter
Brandon Grace – putter (3 putt lead to a bogey on 16, slowing his momentum of the final round)
Henrik Stenson – putter
Jordan Speith – putter
Daniel Summerhays – slow greens (left two short of the hole. One on 17 for birdie and 18 for eagle)
Phil Michelson – driver (well, the drive on Friday which lead to a triple)
You can follow Jimmy @jimmywalkerpga on twitter